My Easel

July 9, 2007

Drive by Fire

Filed under: Uncategorized — Aditya Sengupta @ 9:25 pm

Have you ever thought what would happen if the car you’re in was struck by lightning. Find out for yourselves by watching this video:

(Double-click on the video. This video is not embedded)

Now the presenter (Richard Hammond) says that the reason the lightning does not affect the occupants of the vehicle is that the vehicle acts as a Faraday cage. Now, I remember from what I read in a physics book a couple of years ago that a Faraday cage was mentioned in a chapter on Electrostatics. Quite simply explained, the extra charges that build up on the surface of a metallic cage redistribute themselves so that they are positioned the furthest distance apart from each other (Like charges repel).

Now lightning is a dynamic phenomenon, unlike the buildup of electric charge on the surface of a metallic cage. So do the same rules apply here?

Some don’t seem to think so. I looked it up online. They claim it’s because of something called the skin effect. The skin effect is a property that describes the behaviour of time variant currents flowing through metals.

So the jury is still out on this one. If you would like to add something here, please feel free to post comments.

By the way, here is a site that deals with vehicles and lightning. Check it out.


For those who are still confused about the title of this post, well, it’s a play on the technology term, “Drive by Wire“.


1 Comment »

  1. nice post 😀

    Comment by sukanya — July 22, 2007 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

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